Solar Power & Wind Energy Seen to Replace Fossil Fuels by 2040

Solar Power and wind energy may replace fossil fuels as the main source of energy in Australia by 2040 if the country is able to maintain the recent rate of deployment of these renewable energy sources, according to a new report.

This was the conclusion of a study made by Andrew Blakers, director of the Australian National University’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Systems. The same study cites that solar photovoltaics and energy make up almost all new electricity generation in the previous years.

Blakers noted that if the trend continues, the country will be able to achieve renewable energy system by 2040, with renewables replacing existing fossil fuel-based power stations which should have been exhausted by that time.

The researcher said that South Australia is now getting 29 per cent of its energy requirements from wind and solar power. More people in the region are shopping for cheap solar panel quotes, or getting solar power rebates and inquiring about solar installer packages.

Cheaper

Like what Bloomberg New Energy Finance notes, wind is cheaper than coal and gas-fired energy generation. Solar power will soon follow this path. This means that the costs related to the tapping of these new and renewable energy sources will be no greater than fossil fuel-based power stations. This projection is considered critical, since renewables like solar power and wind are misconceived as being more expensive than fossil fuel plants.

Blakers said that his projection is similar to the conservative forecasts done by the Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BNEF).

The 100% renewable scenario by 2040 is seen as almost similar to forecasts made by other outfits. Australia has been sourcing 10 per cent of its energy requirements from renewables in 2010. This figures to rise to at least 25 per cent ten years later, with the lower solar power quotes, more solar power rebates and the use of advanced solar installer systems coming into play as well as the 41,000GWh target for large scale renewables.

According to BNEF, the trend could be 46% for renewables by 2030 with wind and solar energy replacing fossil fuel-based plants, with the retirements of the latter accelerating in the next ten years.

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Other scenarios

Blaker’s research also pointed out other scenarios that could play a role in solar and wind energy completely replacing fossil fuels as the main source of energy in Australia by 2040.

These include new capacity to replace fossil fuel systems is exclusive to wind and solar, meaning there are no new gas or coal plants established. Existing hydro and other renewable forms of energy is continued but not increased, and installation rates of wind and photovoltaic are at 1GWh a year to meet the renewable energy target of the government by 2020.

Blakers also said that for the country to be fully dependent on renewables by 2040, it should continue to install 1 GW of wind every year until 2040. Installation rate of 1 GW of solar energy should also be kept until 2020 and then grow by 10 per cent every year after.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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